The Resident Evil series is in a weird place. Resident Evil 6 released last year to polarising reviews, scoring as low as 2/10 and as high 9/10 in various websites and magazines. Commercially, the game performed strongly but nowhere near expectations. The title was a mish-mash of styles leading many to believe Capcom no longer knew just what Resident Evil was – is it action, survival-horror, both? Or something else completely? Resident Evil Revelations, a HD port of 2012’s 3DS game is an attempt to meld the old with the new and is the strongest entry in the franchise since the genre-defining Resident Evil 4.
Resident Evil Revelations is a “lost-episode” in the convoluted RE storyline. Set in between Resident Evil’s 5 and 6, the narrative see’s you taking control of franchise-favourite Jill Valentine, with the story hopping between characters such as Chris Redfield and Parker Luciani as we uncover a twisted, yet enjoyable, plot of conspiracies, bio-weapons, betrayal and full-on camp. Yes, after the rather more po-faced proceedings of RE 5 and 6, Revelations returns to the cheesy acting, music and character portrayals of old – and is all the better for it. The narrative is pleasingly bonkers, lasting around 6 hours on your first play through. The run-time IS short but ensures the game zips along at a good pace; you’ll never be bored and no section outstays its welcome – with the exception of a few boss fights which we’ll come to later.
The Master Of Unlocking
Revelations handles like the more modern Resident Evil’s, with its over-the-shoulder viewpoint and shooting mechanics. Refreshingly, the pacing and structure of the game is mostly inspired from the series PSone heyday – the majority of your time will be spent on a luxury ocean liner which links and doubles back on itself, like the mansion from the original. There is an emphasis on exploration and puzzle solving, with the occasional action set-piece to break things up. Mechanically, the game is solid – shooting feels good, the framerate never drops and while it isn’t the prettiest game to look at (the enemy models in particular betray their 3DS roots) effort has been made to polish our heroes and the environments for Revelations HD makeover. Unfortunately, the game does have its problems though thankfully none of them are game-breaking.
Revelations main problem is that it IS a handheld title – home console gamers need titles with a little more bang and substance. Though enjoyable, the game is hampered by its handheld roots – the ocean liner isn’t quite big enough, the actions is quite thrilling enough and the run time is very short. 6 hours will see you through your initial run through (played on hard) and subsequent (optional) playthroughs will be less still. Although there is a “Raid Mode”, a co-op score-attack mode, there is very little to bring you back for seconds – a quality which is usually very strong in the series. Shockingly, Revelations has hit the stores as a full-priced title, a price we couldn’t recommend you paying, enjoyable as the title is. The boss fights deserve a special mention too – they’re awful. It’s something the series (and videogames) rarely get right and, in Revelations, they’re as frustrating and as poorly executed as ever – can’t we think of something else to end a level?
Fans of the series will find a lot to love here though – there are many easter eggs and winks to previous franchise entries and its mixture of old and new is intriguing, we’d like to see a Resident Evil with a bigger budget given the same treatment. Scares are thin on the ground in this one but that’s mainly down to the limitations of the titles origin. Furthermore, it’s a perfect jumping-off place for franchise ‘newbies’ – it isn’t as dense and tricksy as the old titles, nor does it require the lightning-quick reflections and patience of the newer titles.
Revelations is the best Resident Evil since number 4 but we’d recommend you wait for a price-drop. If you simply can’t wait though, you’ll find an enjoyable romp and a return to form from an ailing series.
– Dave Green. He’s on Twitter @davidpgreen83